Pakistan Press Foundation launches mechanism to report election-related violence

The Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF) today launched a reporting and monitoring mechanism for election related violence directed against media personnel and institutions. The reporting mechanism will facilitate journalists and other media personnel to report violence directed against them in the month leading up to the General Elections on July 25, to elect members of the national and provincial assemblies. The monitoring system is being established to ensure that election related attacks against media personnel and institutions do not go unnoticed, as well as to monitor the response of the state machinery to such…Read more

President Museveni of Uganda hurls insults at the media

This statement was originally published on cpj.org on 18 June 2018. Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni should stop making statements that denigrate and threaten the press, and ensure that his government does not take actions that conflate journalism with terrorism or national security threats, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. On June 11, while attending the funeral of ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) legislator Ibrahim Abiriga, Museveni and NRM Secretary General Justine Kasule Lumumba publicly called for the need to censor radio and social media, according to a report by NTV Uganda. Abiriga…Read more

Bangladeshi ‘secularist’ blogger-publisher Shahzahan Bachchu shot dead

Unknown assailants shot dead writer, blogger and publisher Shahjahan Bachchu in Munshiganj district in central Bangladesh on June 11, 2018. In addition to running his own publishing house Bishakha Prokashoni, Shahjahan Bachchu, 55, was acting editor of the weekly Amader Bikrampur. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) condemns the cold-blooded murder of the writer-publisher and demands urgent action to arrest and punish the attackers. The IFJ also urges the Bangladeshi authorities to ensure safety for publishers, journalists and bloggers who face horrifying consequences of expressing their views online. Shahjahan Bachchu, a blogger known…Read more

Death of Renowned Commonwealth Journalist

It is with great sadness that we learnt today of the death of Derek Ingram.  Derek - who had been unwell for the past few months - died peacefully at home on 17 June 2018, just three days short of his 92 birthday. Throughout the Commonwealth Derek has been a familiar and much loved figure for decades.  An outstanding journalist with a distinguished career in the UK newspaper industry before he embraced  the Commonwealth, he was deeply committed to press freedom and encouraging and mentoring young journalists.  He was also well known for his…Read more

Journalists Asad Kharal and Gul Bukhari attacked on the same day in Lahore

Pakistan Press Foundation Asad Kharal, a Pakistani investigative journalist was assaulted by unknown persons in Lahore, the capital city of Punjab province on the night between 5 and 6 June 2018. He received multiple injuries and was rushed to a hospital. In his tweet Kharal said: "I have been attacked by some person wearing masks, I am in hospital." Kharal, who is also an anchorperson at BOL TV, is known for his stories about corruption in Pakistan. Superintendent of Police (SP) Cantonment Lahore Bilal Zafar said they have received a complaint that some…Read more

Lesotho Constitutional Court applauded for declaring criminal defamation unconstitutional

On 21 May the Lesotho High Court, sitting as the Constitutional Court, declared criminal defamation as unconstitutional. The decision has been lauded across the globe by advocates campaigning against criminal defamation, insult, false news and sedition laws across the African continent. Kicking off on home ground, MISA Lesotho applauded the landmark judgement for its "contribution to an enabling environment for media operations." “We commend the Lesotho Constitutional Court bench for its brave decision, which makes a significant contribution to freedom of expression jurisprudence in the region”, said Anneke Meerkotter, litigation director of the…Read more

Pakistani authorities disrupt distribution of Dawn newspaper

Pakistani authorities should immediately halt any restrictions on the distribution of Dawn newspaper in Pakistan, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. Distribution of the newspaper has been disrupted in many parts of the country in recent weeks, Dawn editor Zaffar Abbas told CPJ. Pakistan Today reported May 17 that distributors in Balochistan province were told not to distribute the newspaper because it ran an interview with former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif earlier in May in which he made a controversial statement. According to a source who asked to remain anonymous for fear of…Read more

Acquittal of “Fiji Times” sedition case hailed as victory for press freedom in Oceania

The Fiji Times, its three executives, and an opinion columnist were cleared of the sedition charges filed by the Fiji government after a High Court judge concurred with the 'not guilty' ruling of the court's three assessors. On April 27, 2016, weekly indigenous-language newspaper Nai Lalakai published a letter by Josaia Waqabaca which tackled the need for a national reconciliation between the country's indigenous population and Muslim minority groups. Nai Lalakai is part of Fiji Times Ltd. Two months later, charges of inciting communal hatred were filed by the Fiji government against Waqabaca,…Read more

Pakistan authorities block distribution of oldest newspaper

Distribution of the English-language daily Dawn, Pakistan’s oldest newspaper, is being disrupted in much of the country since it published an interview with former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. Reporters Without Borders (RSF) condemns this latest attack on media freedom. The interview, which reportedly displeased the Pakistani military, appeared in the 12 May (Saturday) issue and the blocking began on 15 May. According to RSF’s information, distribution is being disrupted in most of Baluchistan province, in many cities in Sindh province and in all military cantonments. The Press Council of Pakistan has notified Dawn’s…Read more

Kenya’s journalists can now get ten years in prison for defamation

Online defamation and fake news are punishable by long jail terms under Kenya’s new Computer and Cybercrimes Act, which President Uhuru Kenyatta signed into law on 16 May. Reporters Without Borders (RSF) condemns its disproportionate penalties as a threat to press freedom. If journalists are convicted of online defamation under the new law, they could be sentenced to up to ten years in prison and fined the equivalent of 42,000 euros, while the intentional publication of false information that “constitutes hate speech” or “negatively affect reputations of others” is punishable by up to…Read more